From Orhon inscriptions to Orhan Pamuk, the story of Turkish literature from the eighth century A.D. to the present day is rich and complex, full of firm traditions and daring transformations. Spanning a wide geographic range from Outer Mongolia and the environs of China through the Middle East all the way to Europe, the history of Turkish literature embraces a multitude of traditions and influences. All have left their imprint on the distinctive amalgam that is uniquely Turkish. Always receptive to the nurturing values, aesthetic tastes, and literary penchants of diverse civilizations, Turkish culture succeeded in evolving a sui generis personality. It clung to its own established traits, yet it was flexible enough to welcome innovations—and even revolutionary change.
A Millennium of Turkish Literature tells the story of how literature evolved and grew in stature on the Turkish mainland over the course of a thousand years. The book features numerous poems and extracts in fluid translations by Halman and others. This volume provides a concise and captivating introduction to Turkish literature and, with selections from its extensive “Suggested Reading” section, serves as an invaluable guide to Turkish literature for course adoption.
Talat S. Halman is professor and chairman of the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara. Formerly he was on the faculties of Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University. Halman is the author and editor of more than eighty books, including Nightingales and Pleasure Gardens, The Turkish Muse, and A Brave New Quest. He is also the editor of the Journal of Turkish Literature.
Jayne L. Warner is the director of research at the Institute for Aegean Prehistory in Greenwich, Connecticut.